Friday, July 23, 2010

Vermaelen Confidents With the New Gunners

Thomas Vermaelen insists Arsenal can defy their critics to challenge for the Premier League title this season.

The Gunners have been written off by many in recent seasons for having an inexperienced team but manager Arsene Wenger has bolstered the squad by signing Laurent Koscielny and Marouane Chamakh.

Arsenal continued their pre-season with a 3-0 win over Sturm Graz in Austria on Wednesday and Vermaelen believes the signs are promising.

“The spirit in the camp is good,” he said. “We have a good young group who are very aggressive and want to improve. I think people will always say we can't compete — it is not the first time.

“But we have to do what we always do which is work hard and play our own game. Then we can compete — I hope we can compete for the title this year and I'm convinced we will.”

With William Gallas and Mikael Silvestre set to depart Arsenal this summer, Vermaelen is expected to be the mainstay at the heart of defence.

The 24-year-old was hugely impressive last season, missing only five League matches in his first season following a £10million move from Ajax.

Vermaelen, who has been partnered by Koscielny and Johan Djourou in Arsenal's two pre‑season games, said: “I have only played with Johan twice but I love him as a player. He is strong in the air and marks tightly, which is good, and Laurent is a little bit the same. He is smart and quick as well.”

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